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Unmentionables - A Novel [Kindle Edition]

David Greene
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $18.95
Kindle Price: $4.99
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Book Description

Unmentionables is an epic story of two pairs of lovers in the Civil War south. One couple is straight, white and wealthy. The other couple is gay, black and enslaved.

Their fates are intertwined in ways that none of them could have imagined.

Jimmy, a field hand, meets Cato, a house servant from a nearby plantation. At first, Jimmy, who despises whites, mistakes Cato for a white man, but soon discovers that Cato is both a slave and the illegitimate son of the plantation owner Augustus Askew. As they become acquainted, Jimmy's fascination with Cato grows into romantic love.

Unmentionables is also the story of Dorothy Holland, whose parents own Jimmy and his sister Ella. Dorothy does not want any man to control her life, or to prevent her from granting freedom to Ella, her lifelong friend. When Dorothy falls in love with Cato's white half-brother, William Askew, she must persuade him to agree to her terms--and betray his role as a Confederate army officer.

Book of the Year award winner!
On Saturday, June 25th, 2011, Unmentionables was awarded the bronze medal for Gay and Lesbian fiction at the Book of the Year awards at the American Library Association conference in New Orleans.

Editorial Reviews


"You could say 'think Gone with the Wind meets Brokeback Mountain,' but I'll just say it is one of the best novels of the year for any grown-up." - Kindle Nation Daily
Book of the Year award winner!
On June 25th, 2011, Unmentionables was awarded the bronze medal for Gay and Lesbian fiction at the Book of the Year awards at the American Library Association conference in New Orleans.
"This is a moving and profound novel, exploring the ways in which love counters cruelty in even the harshest of conditions. The characters are beautifully drawn, their feelings and motivations believable and real, their loves alternately heartbreaking and redemptive. Even the minor characters are drawn with the kind of careful detail that makes them spring brilliantly to life." -
"quite possibly, the best depiction from a dog's point of view that I've ever read!" - San Francisco Book Review

About the Author

David Greene's creative life has evolved from film to photography to writing. He wrote and directed the film, Pamela and Ian, in which the characters grapple with the fact that they are shadows of light and that the film must end. His collection of photographs was exhibited in galleries in Berkeley, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Zurich. David is the spouse of painter James Stephens.

Product Details

  • File Size: 788 KB
  • Print Length: 561 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1453721355
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,318 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic August 10, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is so good it should be on high school and university reading lists. An amazing civil war story told simply and very smoothly. The characters are interesting and any change in their outlook is developed slowly, instead of in the last few pages like some authors do. Dorothy is the central figure. She is very independent and liberal in her viewpoint, despite the fact she is the daughter of a slave owner near Jackson, Tennessee. She is straight as are most of the characters. There are three gay characters and two of them are slaves who have to deal with slavery and their sexuality. I feel the product description gives too much of the plot away. Just read the book and let it flow into your soul. At $[...]it is the greatest bargain on Amazon.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique Story of Slavery in the South! September 28, 2010
This is an ambitious novel that grabs the reader's attention with a compellig story about two pairs of lovers in the South during the years of plantation slavery. The characters are well-developed by author David Greene as he is a skillful writer with a fine creative bent. The pace of the story is slow yet appealing and the drama grips the reader. Kudos to author Greene for the subtle yet honest way he handles two controversial topics slavery and homosexuality. If you feel like leisurely reading a finely crafted novel about an historical period of time that is still fascinating, pick up "Unmentionables" and you won't be disappointed.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: Unmentionables, by David Greene January 4, 2011
Unmentionables by David Greene is set in the American Civil War south and recounts the intertwining stories of two couples, Jimmy and Cato, who are gay, black, and enslaved, and Dorothy and William, who are straight, white, and wealthy. If this time period and subject matter seem a tad too distant to relate to your present 21st century lives, fret not. History in this work is used masterfully to transform the specific into the universal. Unmentionables is about love - romantic and otherwise.

Take for instance a conversation that Cato has with Erastus Hicks, a traveling painter from Pennsylvania who arrives at the Tennessee property of Augustus Askew, the slave's master, to paint a portrait of Lucille, Augustus's wife. Cato is engaged to assist Erastus on his commission. When he asks the artist why he paints, Erastus replies:

"It has something to do with yearning...yearning to get hold of what I see. Sometimes I'm overcome, Cato, truly...When I look at this world and see it, I wonder if what I this what others see too?...Because I think if others saw it as I did, they too would be compelled to take up paints and brushes-to try to rope the magnificence of this world onto a canvas...just to try to get hold of it..."

Erastus is later implicated in the romance of William Askew (the son of Augustus and Lucille) and Dorothy (whose parents own Jimmy, Cato's eventual love interest). Erastus's acute perception of the world recurs throughout the novel and seems to mirror that of the book's author, David Greene, who writes with exceptional insight about both the human and non-human condition. In the following excerpt, for example, Mr.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Epic January 15, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a fascinating delight. I was so pleased every night to be transported back to the South just before the Civil War. The characters are sharply drawn and the plot kept me on the edge of my seat.

The book raises all sorts of questions I had never thought of before. For example:

- How did African-American slaves who were gay get by?
- What about young white people in the south who were anti-slavery?
- How did white families react when the father in the family sired offspring with slave females, then raised the children on the family plantation?
- How hard was it to travel back and forth between the South and the North during the Civil War?

The book clearly lays out answers to these questions in its compelling, multi-faceted, hopeful drama.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read ! July 21, 2010
I simply loved this book. It is a wonderfully unique and exciting story that I found fascinating from the very beginning. David Greene is a skillful writer and story teller whose exceptional ability to develop characters leaves the reader with a deep and intimate connection with each of them. I found myself immersed in the story not wanting to put the book down. I recommend this as a must read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mentioned January 15, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I can hear my mother's voice as clear as yesterday saying, "there is nothing new under the sun." Across the dining room table there is my grandmother saying, "you know it's all been done before." Society and members of the illustrious group of people who identify themselves as same gender loving often act as if homosexual relationships are some new phenomenon. We act as if the Chernobyl nuclear accident was so far reaching that it caused many future generations to engage in relationships with the same sex and that this has never been seen in human history. If anyone has a morsel of honesty within themselves then they would have to admit that this is not only a misconception but a blatant lie.
Then David Greene enters the scene, stepping out of the lunar module into terrain never before traced by authors of this world. Oh sure we've been able to look in our telescopes and gaze at this not all to distant planet, but it is David Greene who has dared to not only ask but answer the question of homosexual relationships existing during slavery. Most history books dedicate at most five to six pages about one of the darkest hours of American history. Other history books leave the topic altogether unmentioned. Greene digs deep to bring the tale of two slave lovers Jimmy and Cato to life and let's the reader know the ultimate destination by titling the novel Unmentionables.
More than just a novel about homosexual relationships set during the onset of the civil war, Greene also deals with other complex issues of the time such as the infidelity of the slave owners and the birth of an entire generation of mulatto children collectively called African Americans.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars IndieReader Review
UNMENTIONABLES is a story concerning the interaction of slavery, family, love and war. Two Southern families, the Hollands and the Askews, and the slaves they own but do not fully... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Amy Edelman
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb... although it ends quite abruptly
This book is the perfect blend of issues that people were dealing with during the days of civil war and slavery. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Chandler Foster
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
You never hear about gay anything during the civil war period, and thats always been a facet of culture in that era that has fascinate me. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Langston Mercier
5.0 out of 5 stars super great
He is a gret writer and will read more of his books.I love books that even tho fiction they couls be true to life in any erea.
Published 24 months ago by george braley
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome and thoughtful reading of the past, even though it is fiction!
It was very timely to read this book after seeing the movies "Django" and "Lincoln". Read more
Published on January 24, 2013 by Virginia Nelson
3.0 out of 5 stars Good writing,
The story & writing were good, but descriptions a bit more explicate than I like. I enjoyed the story as educational/historical.
Published on January 22, 2013 by author
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite believable
But moving and warm. An unusual approach to the events of the era. Supportive of both gay and black rights at a time when neither were important.
Published on January 22, 2013 by Howard Rubenstein
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a Romance... But an Interesting Story
I was very disappointed in this book. I had to push myself to finish it. This book is long and it dragged on. Read more
Published on January 8, 2013 by Alex
4.0 out of 5 stars Gay history with the emphasis on challenging what is.
Interesting book....well written, historically correct and well-detailed, and depicting not only two men who are and their challenging of preconceptions, theirs and others, but... Read more
Published on May 15, 2012 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserving more than a mention
I thoroughly enjoyed "Unmentionables". Some of the reviews say it is a cross between "Brokeback Mountain" and "Gone with the Wind", and I seemed to be agreeing with them as I... Read more
Published on January 19, 2012 by Scott Farrell
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More About the Author

David Greene's creative life has evolved from film to photography to writing. He wrote and directed the film, Pamela and Ian, in which the characters grapple with the fact that they are shadows of light.

David began writing fiction after being guided into a hypnotic trance by a researcher documenting past life memories. David's memories from that past-life regression session were the genesis for his first novel, Unmentionables, about slaves who lived and loved during the Civil War era.

David's most recent novel, the thriller Detonate, an homage to Hitchcock, employs a classic "wrong man" plot. Detonate is the first of a series of novels featuring private investigator Tyrone King who is half white, half black, half straight, half gay. He's a hero who seeks to get the bad guys without using guns or violence.

David is the spouse of painter James Stephens. They live in Chicago.

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